I expected much better after all the hype
3 September 2022
Ok So where to begin. I gave it a 2.5 stars or a 5 out of 10 because I don't want to seem like I am review bombing. I notice the positive reviews seem very general whilst the mediocre and bad reviews seem much more specific, which I find telling. Yes the Cinematography is great and most of the production values are also very good, though some are off key as well. After two episodes I have little idea where the plot is going and the scene writing seems very weak. The dwarves are pretty well represented but all the humans except the one lead female seem like idiots. The Harfoots/halflings are kinda cool. The elves seem very poorly represented and very off key on so many levels. So yes, I have read just about everything JRR wrote himself, but I don't mind some adaptation for TV/Film either, but this really seems to miss Tolkien's tone. Most of the Elves just don't look or act like.. well...Elves...Period. That's a big problem. Sorry but it is. Many are miscast. Elrond? Come on. No dis to the actor, just wildly miscast and badly written. Most of the Elves are poorly written and directed, and they are the backbone of the story here. I like the actress playing Galadriel, but the way her character is written is ridiculous and not very engaging or likable. It seems everyone making entertainment content from classics wants it to be something it isn't. They would have been better off making a different show that was original or based on something they actually wanted to be somewhat faithful to in their representation. Instead it feels like a rip off.

Most of the dynamic and action based scenes have way too close in camera work and are jolting and unclear. And they jump back and forth too quickly between story lines so it is hard to get invested. Written for people with really short attention spans perhaps? The CGI is ok but I honestly don't see where they spent all the $ unless it was in a critic payoff slush fund. Or perhaps most of the critics are not really familiar with the source work at all and don't know the stories and tone that this is supposed to be based off of.

I had trouble getting through both episodes. Honestly, most of the adult characters seem whiney, immature and kind of stupid. Many of these folks are already classic adult developed characters at this point in the timeline, not the whelps they seem to be here. Again, very poor writing and character development. I am struggling to like or care about anyone in the show, though I do like Arondir & Nori.

I will probably keep watching the show for the visuals and the pastime but it seems like it should be so much more than it is. I really don't mind creative license to fill in the plot development if it's well done. It just seems like it is not well done here. They could make things up that match the gist and tone of Tolkien's second age, but instead it almost seems like a completely different world/story which is not how they presented the show in the lead up marketing campaign. I mean they have been hawking this thing mercilessly for months and months like the second coming of Tolkien. And really building on that point, It seems like they used the name to capture an easy audience when they did not have enough of the rights, or the desire to do a solid adaptation. Seems like a marketing gimmick. Meanwhile Amazon has bought and tied up the rights to many fine 20th Century SciFi and Fantasy works by the top talent of the time and then failed to bring them to market. The works of Roger Zelazny and Marion Zimmer Bradley are two great examples of fantastic properties that they have bought and then let languish, where they could be first to the table in high value adaptations of the Chronicles of Amber, or the Darkover stories just to name a few. Instead they went for the easy name recognition and then made a visual spectacle with little real substance. What a shame, and a squandering of both opportunity and a ridiculous amount of $.

I could say more but I don't want to just rag on the show. I know many fine people put their talent and hard work into it, and taken as a stand alone perhaps it is not so bad. Unfortunately for everyone except people who just take whatever they are given, it was not presented as a stand alone, but rather and important adaptation of Tolkien's work, which it clearly is not.

If you don't care about Tolkien much or any continuity of the world building or tone, then one can watch it as reasonably entertaining eye candy I suppose, in an entertainment world that is long on content but short on quality.

I wrote this to inform not to simply be critical.

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